Preacher – Season 2, Episode 2: “Mumbai Sky Tower”

AMC’s Preacher
Season 2, Episode 2: “Mumbai Sky Tower”
Directed by Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Written by Sam Catlin

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “On the Road” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Damsels” – click here
Pic 1The Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) approaches Jesse (Dominic Cooper), drawing his gun. He shoots and a truck runs in the bullet’s path, killing the driver. Swerving the truck right into him, squashing him against a post. You can bet this motherfucker ain’t dead, though. He pushes the truck off himself, no problem. Meanwhile there’s a bunch of gun lovers staying at the inn, they pitch in to shoot the Saint down. Not a long lived celebration. The cowboy gets back up and starts gunning them all down, aside from Jesse and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) who manage to slip away. And Tulip (Ruth Negga), she’s transfixed by a bit on television about Annville blowing sky high.
But they’ve got to get going, to figure a way out before the cowboy gets them. He’s killing everything in sight. Many sights to see in this episode within the first five minutes, from explosions to gunfire to bloody, blown off limbs.
Also, can the Saint hear Genesis specifically? Or was it merely a coincidence in this scene Jesse used it before they cut to him? Either way our trio makes it off on the road again, with many questions about the Saint, who he is and how he’s indestructible. Jesse’s similarly concerned about Annville, why it’s nothing but a mushroom cloud of methane smoke.
Another problem solved by guns
Pic 1AWe see Fiore (Tom Brooke) for the first time in quite a long while. He’s sitting on the side of the road, waiting for a bus. It takes him to Mumbai Sky Tower. He checks in to a room. He misses DeBlanc. And he’s decided on killing himself, hanging to death by the bed. Reappearing in the bathroom, of course. A meaningless existence. He does a sort of Groundhog Day-style suicide, doing himself in only to regenerate once more. Joyless in life, whether winning a ton at the tables or having sex with beautiful women. Nothing excites him anymore. Even kills himself during one of the shows by the house singer Frank (Vik Sahay), and everyone gives him an ovation, assuming it’s a magic act. So they hire him, as Ganesh the reincarnating man. Going so far as to behead him, amongst other nasty deaths to the thrill of the audience.
And still,no happiness for Fiore.
Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip show up to find the angel-like entity doing well for himself. Well, he’s not particularly thrilled to see the preacher. They ask about the Saint, finding out more about the “ghost story” of the “beast straight out of hell.” All about murder. He wants to kill Genesis, and the one in which it resides. We understand now that the Saint is “tracking the word” through the lure of Genesis, as I suspected. Sort of like the ring in Lord of the Rings: use it, and those tracking it are drawn to its location. Ah, the struggle of ultimate power! For his part, Fiore’s not willing to do anything to help. He cares about nothing whatsoever.
Note: Some great comic book-style sequences already in Season 2, even the simplest things. Such as Cassidy’s little countdown. Lots of fun. Love to see Goldberg and Rogen letting loose, having fun with the episodes they’ve directed. Talented guys when they’re working with the right material.
Pic 2Tulip: “Youre one of the best figure it outers I know, Jesse Custer.”
Together in a room at the hotel, Jesse suggests to Tulip they get married. They’re in love, they’re both bad ass. Why not tie the knot? She slaps him in response. Although they laugh about it afterwards. Up in the big suite, the vamp tries to help cheer up Fiore with a speedball intravenous cocktail. Just the trick. Except the first try he kills him. Lucky the guy’s a regenerating angel. Tone down the heroin and Fiore’s flying, actually having fun. Smiling. They smoke some drugs, too. All the while Cassidy gets a few bits of information about the Saint, angels, the like. Our vamp’s got his own skill set.
All’s not well. Tulip spots someone eyeing her across the bar, a big man looking shady. She rushes out after him. He winds up at her door later, this is Gary (Michael Beasley), a blast from the past.
Together at the bar, Jesse talks with Frank, who laments working at the casino, the Grand Guignol element of the show with Ganesh. “People like violence,” says the preacher. Then, the singer mentions music, which sets Jesse alight with ideas of where to go next. At the same time Cassidy says Fiore will call off the Saint. But will he, really?
Tulip asks Gary into her room. He’s from down in Louisiana, up checking in on business interests for Viktor. Apparently the man is looking for her, so Gary suggests calling him. There’s clearly some more to her relationship with Viktor, she won’t even admit to Gary about her impending, spontaneous marriage. This leads to him manhandling her. She fights him with everything, as he all but mops the floor with her. Before she fights back harder and bashes his face into a bloody pulp. Cassidy stumbles onto the scene, so she asks him not to tell. She has a wedding to get going.
Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 12.38.33 AMFinally, we hear of Eugene aka Arseface (Ian Colletti), thrown into hell. Fiore refuses to go back down and get him, as well. So that’s out of the picture. Moreover, Jesse says he’s starting to release the implications of Genesis, that it ought to only be used in dire circumstances. If it means “finding God.”
But Tulip shows up and says she doesn’t want to get married. I think this has to do with her secrets, with her connection to Viktor. Otherwise she’d be hitched, she does love him. There’s something behind all this that she can’t yet admit to Jesse. I wonder exactly what that is, if it’s a simple relationship or something more complex.
Jesse: “If God likes jazz, what better place to look for him than New Orleans?”
With that, the worry on Tulip’s face speaks volumes. Headed right for Viktor. Many terrifying things ahead. If not terrifying, then wildly fucked up. Before the gang heads out Jesse uses Genesis to try granting Fiore a way of finding peace.
Later, the Saint arrives. He and Fiore still have a deal on the table. If he kills Genesis, he sees his family again. So the cowboy’s sent on to Louisiana on the gang’s tail. Not before he helps Fiore die, once and for all. Being on Earth, for him, is more Purgatory than anything.
Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 12.45.00 AMFucking great episode. So many interesting things, a bit of that comic book love, a crazy sequence of the lads on drugs. Such a wild ride! “Damsels” comes next and I’m looking forward to seeing the next leg of the journey, which characters our friends run into, as well as what mad shit the Saint will do, who he’ll kill, how badly he’ll kill them. Long live Preacher!

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Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 5: “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 5: “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame”
Directed by Daniel Stamm
Written by Suzanne Heathcote

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “100” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Red Dirt” – click here
Pic 1Russell (Worth Howe) wakes to find his wife Martha (Heather Wynters) having turned. He welcomes her into his arms. She can only gum at her neck, her teeth in a glass by the table. One of the more profoundly creepy things I’ve seen. These are the old people Nick (Frank Dillane) saw dancing before, in the previous episode. The old man puts a gun to his head, pulls the trigger, and kills him and his wife. Knocking over a lantern, setting fire to their house.
Everybody’s alerted to the fire. Jake (Sam Underwood) leads the charge to get water on its blaze, though all is lost in terms of the house. When Jeremiah (Dayton Callie) arrives he makes it clear: “Theyre gone. Save the water. Let it burn.” No sense in trying to save the people, already dead. Still, a harsh thing to watch.
Madison (Kim Dickens) gets a bit of flack from one of the men going out in a search party. Of course Nick and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) don’t want her to go, especially with Troy (Daniel Sharman). She’d rather keep the enemy close, understand the Otto family. She believes he won’t hurt her. I think she’s right, though I’m still wary of him. He’s a psychopath. All the same, Madison can handle herself. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it every time: she’s bad ass, tough as hell.
Pic 1AEveryone’s dealing with things in their own way. For her part, Luciana (Danay Garcia) thinks it’s romantic that they were “togethertill the end.” She wants to leave that ranch and get to Tijuana. She says there are prohibition tunnels she and Nick can use to get there. He stalls, which worries her. That he might not be able to leave his family.
In a car together on the road, Daniel (Rubén Blades) and Victor (Colman Domingo) have a bit of trouble. Strand doesn’t always say what he means, exactly. The old man just wants to track down his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), so instead of waiting for the right time or a perfect plan they speed on through a horde of walkers. SPLAT!
Alicia and Jake are getting to know one another better. He’s taking the fire hard, the old couple were one of the “founding families” of the whole place together with Jeremiah and a couple others. So Jake and Alicia get talking, finding comforting in each other. More than just talking, too.
Out in the shit, Madison supports Troy, as they stop where a prison bus has crashed. Everyone takes a handheld weapon. She gets herself a nice medieval-style axe. The jerk from earlier helps her out when a couple walkers get the jump on her, but she fares well overall. The jerk actually gives her credit, not that she needs his approval. Goes a long way with those macho sorts, anyways.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 2.51.22 AMThe title of this episode comes from Charles Bukowski. We see that Jake likes him, he’s a bit of a writer, too. Catch is when he gives Alicia a copy, she refuses it saying: “Whats the point?” This brings up an important part of the apocalypse. Some people still value things, such as art. Others feel as if these aren’t worth holding onto, when survival is pretty much the single thought on everyone’s mind.
On the other side, Jeremiah sees guns as art. Clashing with the worldview of Nick, who’s more a modern day hippie, if we’re meant to categorise him. A conscientious objector in the zombie era. Although he’s not opposed to killing for survival, like everyone else. Just not with a weapon like a gun, a cheap and easy way to death.
Jeremiah: “Its a beautiful gun
Nick: “Isnt that a contradiction?”
The search party gets to where the chopper crashed. Only it’s no longer there; someone, somehow, hauled the wreck away. They’ve got to figure out where these people are, and who, why they attacked their people. Why they killed some.
They come across a house on higher ground. Blood everywhere. No sign of anybody. Except for a pile of smoking, recently burned bodies. An old man sits on a chair, a hole in the back of his head. A raven picking at it. He’s mumbling the poem “Antigonish” by William Hughes Mearns. Everyone is shocked, one guy pukes. Madison puts him out of his misery smoothly, with mercy. Then they find a Native man named Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes), he’s known to Troy. A tense situation. Walker makes them drop their guns, even commands they take off their boots. Seems that the ranch is on Native land. Oh, shit. But Madison has her say, she reminds this man they shot down the chopper, that they killed her husband; a native of his own land, of the Maori in New Zealand. Gotta mean something.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 3.05.14 AMStrand and Daniel arrive at the hotel after nightfall. The place is an absolute mess of dead walkers, blood, guts, broken glass, broken everything. Then the old man makes Strand tell the truth, nearly feeding him to the walkers. Although he manages to get away. Not quick enough, as he watches Daniel take off in the car without him. Again left in a horrible predicament.
Trouble brews a bit when Troy’s getting stressed, Madison tries to play the mediator. He doesn’t like that she steps out of line. “You wanna be a mamas boy?” she asks him. She uses the memory of his mother to quell his anger. Learning how to control him, a weak man with mommy issues. This is good. Gives her a leg up on things.
However, in the night he puts a blade to her throat. He doesn’t know whether he wants to fuck Madison or kill her. A dangerous, ugly thing. Which another man in the party witnesses, though he chooses to roll over and sleep rather than say or do anything.
In the morning Nick wakes up to see that Luciana’s left without him. The search party go for the rest of their walk without anything on their feet, as Walker and his people are ready to take back their land. There are many things about to happen come next episode. “Red Dirt” is the following chapter. Expect bloodshed and war, possibly. Or, who knows?
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 3.17.09 AM

Preacher – Season 2, Episode 1: “On the Road”

AMC’s Preacher
Season 2, Episode 1: “On the Road”
Directed by Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Written by Sam Catlin

* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “Call and Response” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Mumbai Sky Tower” – click here
Pic 1AYEEHAW, WE’RE BACK IN THE SADDLE! One of my favourite new shows in its initial season. Here we go again. Thus begins the Search for God.
Away from that shit hole speed our friends – Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga), and that handsome vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), who’s particularly worried about “foreskin in face creams” and other horrific repercussions of circumcision. They slag off “Come on Eileen” and then the cops flash their lights, pulling them over.
Instead of pulling over, Jesse dares Tulip to go for a nice car chase. Along with a singalong of “Come on Eileen” to boot. Love how it switches into a classic film look with a bit of the green screen and the scratchy-looking screen. Almost out of The Dukes of Hazzard. Things are fine, until they run out of gas. When the cops try arresting Cassidy they figure out he really needs that umbrella he’s carrying around, too. Preacher Custer uses his unearthly power, Genesis, to stop the cops in their tracks. “Mace your balls,” he tells one of them, who promptly follows instructions. He makes another couple hold hands. Too perfect. At the same time, Tulip doesn’t like this power of his, that it can make her do things she doesn’t necessarily want to do.
Out of nowhere, gunfire erupts. A sniper in the distance. Poor Cassidy can’t catch a break after the vehicles start getting blown to bits. The gunfire keeps on coming. They’ve either got to stay and fight, or get the car gassed up. That means using a length of intestinal tract to siphon some gas. They manage. And once the smoke clears, we see it is indeed the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) tracking them.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 1.46.43 AMCassidy: “Sure we all got sidesMeI got tons of em.”
They stop for a few things, Cassidy finds a cat to munch, but not for long. It’s on the road again. Hot on their tail is the Saint of Killers, never stopping. He’s a terrifying fella.
Of course the vamp is still in love with Tulip, he feels bad for falling for her and all that entailed, having sex together. She says there’s no need to tell Jesse about any of it. But Cassidy actually feels guilt, he wants to be honest with the man who’s saved his life “more than once.”
When they stop to find the preacher’s friend Mike, a supposed religious scholar, Tulip and Cassidy find a woman in a cage. They agree not to do anything about it, as she wails from the garage and they head inside. Apparently she’s a parishioner who needs to curb a few urges. Jesse’s there to talk about God and his recent disappearance. So, where’d he go? Most of all, we see our preacher’s resentment towards the Lord. He doesn’t want an absent creator, one who walks away from responsibility. He wants him held accountable for the world, and His people.
Well, Mike says one of his parishioners named Tammy (Jeanette O’Connor) spoke of meeting God. He thought it was an alcoholic’s nonsense. Now, he believes different. That perhaps the big guy’s out there, somewhere. When they leave, Mike gets a visit from the Saint. He chooses to dig a knife in his chest rather than be made to talk. Fucking hardcore, dude.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 2.01.09 AMThe trio head to a place called She She’s where there’s jazz playing and nearly naked women. Perfect place for the vampire to shag around. Jesse and Tulip find Tammy out back, she doesn’t exactly want to talk. Although after a moment she gives up the story – God came into the club “a couple times” to sit in the back, requested “Walk to the Peak” from the band. But all ain’t rosy, Tammy says there are no answers, only a cold and horrible feeling. The two debate whether to beat the answers out of Tammy, or use Genesis.
Then all hell breaks loose. Tammy gets shot by a bullet from Cassidy wrestling with security. Before dying, she says God “came for the jazz” and not for any girls. Anyways, it’s on again for our trio of renegades. They stay in a motel for the night and plan for the next step of their journey. We see a bit of the fiery relationship between Tulip and Jesse, as well. They’re kinky, in a strange, wild way. Definitely two people quite in love. Intense, hot love. Shitty for Cassidy, in love with Tulip, having to listen to the noise next door.
Can’t stay put for too long. Right out in the street, Jesse sees the Saint headed for them. He commands him to STOP. But those tricks don’t work on this man. He draws his gun. A showdown.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 2.20.51 AMWhat a perfect fucking episode! Solid Season 2 start, I couldn’t have hoped for better. A lot of the stuff we love about the characters, a tad bit of development, and new stories to open up. “Mumbai Sky Tower” is next, stemming from those commercials we see on the motel TV sets.

The Walking Dead – Season 5, Episode 4: “Slabtown”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 4: “Slabtown”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Matthew Negrete & Channing Powell

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Four Walls and a Roof” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Self Help” – click here
IMG_0265A change of pace in this episode, as we segue into where Beth (Emily Kinney) was taken after she and Daryl (Norman Reedus) were holed up in the funeral home. She wakes up in a clean room. An actual working clock counts through the hours. Although she’s locked inside, unable to get out. A woman named Officer Dawn Lerner (Christine Woods) and a man called Dr. Steven Edwards (Erik Jensen) show up, saying some of the other police came across her on the road; “surrounded by rotters” and now in the debt of these people, supposedly.
Yikes, I don’t like the look of this place one bit. Don’t dig that officer, either.
Note: One of my favourite minor things about the series is how everyone has their own term for zombies, such as walkers, biters, now rotters. Some people think it’s dumb to not say the word zombies. I think it’s perfect, because this doesn’t take place in a world where zombie movies are part of the zeitgeist, as many films usually don’t. So shut up complaining, dummies.
IMG_0266The hospital still runs with power, machines pumping, clocks running. They’re taking care of people. But there’s also a sinister undercurrent. The remaining police force in the city seem to be running the place, under commander of Lerner, of course. There are other normal people, too. Such as Noah (Tyler James Williams), mopping floors and doing various jobs; other patients in rooms, none of them seemingly eager to say much about their life in the hospital.
Beth: “If you feel safe enough to be bored, youre lucky.”
Beth’s finding out that living at the hospital is a give and take situation, of the worst kind. Eating food, you’ve got to pay in work; or worse, if some of those male officers had their way, I bet. I fucking hope nothing nasty happens. Else there’s hell to pay.
That’s the last of things. Officer Lerner and Dr. Edwards have a contentious relationship at times. He takes pity on Beth in private, though plays the part in front of the boss. He’s also more stable than her. When he knows he can’t save an injured man she slaps Beth across the face drawing blood, like a psychopath.
In general the hospital’s not a nice place. Other than Noah, who leaves Beth a lollipop and tries explaining how things work there. It’s not exactly how Officer Lerner paints the picture. You’ve got to escape to get free. Right now our girl is feeling the pressure from Dawn as she acts like the saviour only doing good for others.
IMG_0267Later, Joan – a woman who’s had an arm amputated after a bite – makes clear to Beth there are bad things going on. The men there, they are devious. Scary. And the boss lady feels it’s easier not to keep them on too tight a leash. Officer Gorman starts harassing Beth, clearly an animal, and Dr. Edwards steps in. This cop is doing awful shit.
The doc tells Beth about a guy named Hanson, Dawn’s previous boss; he went a bit nuts, before she took things over. Beth can’t accept that staying there is better than anything else. She’d rather be on her own than in that hell, especially if she could find her sister and the others again.
Beth gives a patient an injection, helping Dr. Edwards. The guy ODs, after which Dawn has to put him down for good. Noah covers, saying he accidentally unplugged a machine. Beth gave him the wrong drug – did she? – but he took a beating for it. Dawn knows, either way. This woman is over the edge, though. She thinks they’re going to rebuild the world while many others are merely trying to survive the next day.
Dawn: “Some people just arent meant for this life
Now, Noah and Beth are planning on leaving together, getting away from the hospital. They start enacting their plan to leave. But she gets found by Officer Gorman as she sneaks where she shouldn’t be sneaking in Dawn’s office. Looks like the cop wants to get nasty, he’s a true predator. She pretends momentarily, as Joan – lying dead on the floor behind the desk – reanimates and chews into his throat. CHRIST! Great practical makeup effects here.
IMG_0269Beth sends Dawn unknowing to her office while she and Noah head for the elevator shaft to flee. He lowers her down; at the bottom in the basement is a pile of corpses. Both of them reach the floor, though he does so with a fall. On through the darkness the pair goes, slow and steady. They finally make it outside, only to find more of the dead wandering free.
As Noah manages to get away, Beth’s take back by Officer O’Donnell (Ricky Wayne). They’ve, of course, found Gorman, gutted in the office. Beth calls out Dawn for letting bad things happen while she pretends things are fine, like they’ll all be saved soon. All for nothing, these horrors. This woman is fucking insane, too.
How long can Beth last here? How long can she stay alive?
Well, there’s a familiar face that just came in on a stretcher: Carol (Melissa McBride), of all people.
IMG_0270Nice to catch up with Beth, I can’t imagine what’ll happen next. If Noah somehow comes across her people, it might lead them to the hospital. “Self Help” is the following episode, hopefully showing us more of Beth’s situation, as well as pointing towards a way out for her, somehow, some way.

The Walking Dead – Season 5, Episode 3: “Four Walls and a Roof”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 3: “Four Walls and a Roof”
Directed by Jeffrey F. January
Written by Angela Kang & Corey Reed

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Strangers” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Slabtown” – click here
IMG_0259The Terminus cannibals are juxtaposed well visually with the zombies, tearing human flesh between their teeth. These people were essentially just waiting for the world to end, so that they could become who they were; I don’t care what happened to them at Terminus, they didn’t have to eat anybody. It’s just how they chose to deal with the post-apocalypse landscape. They weren’t strong enough, they’re weak and nasty people.
Gareth: “You join us, or feed us.”
Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) is minus a leg from the knee down. He has to listen to Gareth (Andrew J. West) go on about what type of people he likes to eat; most people like women best. Gross. “I think pretty people taste better, too.”
But suddenly Bob erupts in laughter at them, cackling in mockery. He’s officially getting the last laugh in this situation. Back at the food back last episode, he was in fact bitten. They’ve been eating his “tainted meat.” And this evacuates some of their stomachs pretty fast. Whoa.
IMG_0260Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) worries about her man, so she goes looking. Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) meet up with her, also worried about wherever Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) took off. They go back to have a talk with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), wondering if he has something to do with the disappearances. They want to know what he did, what secrets he’s hiding. Turns out he wouldn’t let people from his congregation inside, leaving them to the walkers outside his door.
Then they find Bob, leg gone, lying out in the grass, left alone. He tells them of the cannibals. As well as shows them his bite. More tragedy. Meanwhile, Abraham wants to get gone, to get Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) to Washington. Rick and the rest won’t go, not yet. It’s a bit of a clash between the two, until Glenn (Steven Yeun) negotiates a bit more time for them to stay together.
Sad to see Sasha having to let go of Bob already, as he’s one foot in the grave. They were only starting to get into their relationship, falling for one another. While the others are preparing to go out, she wants to go. But Tyreese suggests she stay, take what time she has left with Bob. Except she tasks him with staying, putting Bob out of his misery when the time comes. I tell ya, poor Ty gets roped into some shit, man. He’s expected to be tougher than others, simply because they know he can; that he is tougher.
IMG_0261So off goes Rick & Co, looking for the cannibals to dole out revenge, some real justice. However, Gareth and his people are watching closely, and they slink out of the forest when the crew leaves. Oh, fuck me. Only a few people remain, one of which is Carl, along with Rosita (Christian Serratos) and a couple more.
Judith’s crying alerts Gareth, but quickly Rick and the others are back. Silenced pistol shots blasting through heads, before he commands the cannibals to drop their guns and kneel. “We used to help people,” Gareth pleads like any cowardly monster would in his position; blaming his transformation on others. A couple seconds later Rick and Abraham and Sasha are murdering the cannibals, viciously, taking out what revenge they can in a few strokes of gun handles and machetes. Oh, and Michonne (Danai Gurira) gets her sword back! Yeah, girl.
On his deathbed, Bob thanks Rick for assuring him there are good people remaining in the world. Thankful for being taken into the group. Terminus offered salvation and sanctuary, whereas Rick and his people genuinely deliver survival. Afterwards, Sasha must watch Bob slip away. Then her brother offers to put him down, so that she doesn’t have to be responsible.
IMG_0262Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, Maggie, Glenn – they’re heading out on the bus for Washington. Although Rick and the rest confirm they’ll meet them again. Somewhere down the road. For now it’s a goodbye, or a see you later.
One important look at the humanity remaining in the survivors is how Rick and Tyreese dig graves outside for the dead. They’re still keeping to tradition, to the old way of things. And I think within these small rituals there’s a way to remain in touch with oneself, hopefully something that will help these people retain their humanity for a long while.
That night, Daryl comes back. Without Carol, or so it seems. Where is she? What’s happened?
IMG_0264Another great episode, especially seeing as how we’re privy to the revenge against the Terminus cannibals. That’s a refreshing thing to see, instead of any further terrorising. Makes that villain plot quick, succinct, rather than dragging it out too far. Perfectly written, this arc.
“Slabtown” is next, where we get a glimpse of a familiar face we haven’t seen for some time. And we get the scoop on whatever’s going on with Daryl and Carol.

The Walking Dead – Season 5, Episode 2: “Strangers”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 2: “Strangers”
Directed by David Boyd
Written by Robert Kirkman

* For a recap & review of the Season 5 premiere, “No Sanctuary” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Four Walls and a Roof” – click here
IMG_0251Terminus has fallen. Our survivors are out on the road like before, though they’ve certainly discovered some things about themselves. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is back in the saddle, he and Carl (Chandler Riggs) reunited with Judith. Tara (Alanna Masterson) ends up talking with Rick, who says he talked to her at the prison because he knew she didn’t want to be there. So the group’s getting bigger, more cosy. Trusting one another better. Carol (Melissa McBride) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) bond further, as he pushes for everyone to accept what she did to Karen and David at the prison. But they decide on not saying anything about Lizzie, Mika, what happened at that cabin: “I need to forget it,” Tyreese says.
Moreover, Rick tells Carol he owes her his life. All the same he admits not totally liking what she did, likewise admitting she knew things he didn’t at the time. Plus she’s proved herself as one of the ultimate survivors, she was out there alone for a long while with only herself to rely on. Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) glad to have her back. They share an intimate connection, both the victims of abuse in their own right. It’s nice to see them sharing the same space again.
The group doesn’t realise, though… someone is nearby, watching them.
IMG_0252Daryl picks up on this and tells Rick in the morning while they move onward. This pleases Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), he’d like to get back to the streets and out of the woods. When they get further they come across a priest, Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam), being attacked by a group of walkers. They dispatch the dead and save him. He’s scared out of his wits, even pukes a good one. Not armed: “Word of God is the only protection I need.”
They’re all naturally sceptical of the priest. Although he has a church; something that could prove useful, for shelter at least. Rick gives him the three questions, it appears Father Gabriel follows the Bible to the letter and hasn’t killed anyone; or anything.
When they make it to the church the group inspect the place, finding no one else. Nothing but scripture, the holy word in its various books transcribed by hand. THOU SHALT NOT KILL in boldest of letters. There’s something strange about it all. They’ve got one particularly good thing to use – a short bus to fix. Plan is to gather food, water, any ammunition possible. Abraham’s itching to leave, except for the fact most everyone else would rather follow Rick.
The priest tells everyone about a place nearby where there may still be supplies. A group, along with Father Gabriel, are heading out; dad leaves Carl behind with Tyreese to look after Judith. He explains to his boy that he is “not safe” despite wherever they may be, whoever’s there, any of that. There’s never safety in this new world.
IMG_0253At their destination, Rick & Co discover a building and its storage area flooded, zombies water logged and bloated. The gang get down into the flooded area to scavenge, using shelves to block the dead. Father Gabriel panics when one of them come for him, freezing. Rick manages to get to him before he’s chomped. Poor Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) nearly gets a bite, too. Barely coming out unscathed. All in all, they make off with a bunch of goods.
Back at the church, Carl’s found scratches on the outside windows. Somebody trying to get inside. He also found found a message left for the priest by some angry people. That night they’ve all got full bellies, eating better than they have in a long, long time. The Sarge makes a toast to “the survivors” leading into a speech about going to Washington.  Will they all go? Or choose to stay and take their chances long as they can in that church? “Were in,” Rick says after Judith leads.
IMG_0255 Afterwards, the former sheriff speaks with Father Gabriel. He knows the priest is hiding something. He doesn’t want his secrets to hurt their group. At the same time, Carol and Daryl run into each other. They wind up seeing the car that took Beth (Emily Kinney), so off they rush in a vehicle to give chase.
Worst is that Bob is knocked out while in the woods by himself. He wakes to Gareth (Andrew J. West), a still living Martin (Chris Coy), and a few others. They’re still eating people. This time, they’ve taken a portion of Bob’s leg. A good campfire meal.
Gareth: “If it makes you feel any better, you taste much better than we thought you would.”
IMG_0258This was a solid follow-up to the premiere, a deafening blow. Lingering on the Terminus cannibals, now out in the wild, is a treat. Because it’s some of the most vicious stuff we’ve seen the survivors up against.
“Four Walls and a Roof” is next, continuing the stories of the cannibals, our survivors, and the new addition Father Gabriel.

Breaking Bad – Season 3, Episode 8: “I See You”

AMC’s Breaking Bad
Season 3, Episode 8: “I See You”
Directed by Colin Bucksey
Written by Gennifer Hutchison

* For a review of the previous episode, “One Minute” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Kafkaesque” – click here
IMG_0221In the hospital, Jesse (Aaron Paul) gets ready to go home, still bruised and in terrible shape after the beating he was given at the hands of Hank (Dean Norris).
But Hank has bigger problems, nearly gunned to death by the Salamanca brothers. He’s brought into the ER while Pinkman sits outside for a smoke. Such a weird, ironic moment. No telling yet if the big guy’s going to pull through, either. He’s near death.
And much as I feel for Jesse he shows he hasn’t changed in the slightest. He wishes death on the man who beat him, without actually saying the words. Not saying Hank doesn’t deserve a beating in return. Doesn’t deserve this, though.
IMG_0222Suddenly, Gale (David Costabile) finds out that Walt (Bryan Cranston) doesn’t want to work with him anymore, having made a deal to bring his old partner into the operation overseen by Mr. Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). The master chemist compares them as “classical” and “jazz” music, incompatible in the lab ultimately. The salt rubs deepest into the wound when Gale actually meets Jesse, his use of “the bomb” and his beat up face and the “Sup?” which follows. Oh, man. But them’s the breaks when you’re working in the meth industry. All that matters is the bottom line: 200 lbs per week. Rain or shine, Gale or Jesse; does not matter.
Then Mr. White finds out about what happened to Hank, his close to fatal condition. He rushes to the hospital, to Marie (Betsy Brandt), Skyler (Anna Gunn), and Walt Jr (RJ Mitte). They’re all, justifiably, terrified. Not easy to see anyone shot. Seeing Hank like that, an outwardly powerful and tough man incapacitated, it’s shocking. Especially for someone like Jr, who reveres his uncle in that old school tough cop way.
Walt susses out a bit of information from ASAC George Merkert (Michael Shamus Wiles) concerning the cartel, before Steve Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada) lets slip that his partner didn’t have his gun when the Salamancas came for him. This sends Marie into a fucking fury, and I know it’s protocol, yadda yadda… but seriously, you’d be tripping, too.
Biggest irony is she blames Walt’s supposed bout with marijuana leading her husband to Pinkman. Skyler actually picks up for her husband, not knowing the full repercussions of her own husband’s involvement.
Marie: “The DEA is not welcome here
IMG_0223Seeing Jesse in a more professional lab is so strange. Like a kid in a candy shop. He’s also calling up Walt at the hospital about their “responsibilities.” Says he’ll cook a batch by himself. As if he can do that in the superlab, not knowing any of the equipment. At the same time Walt’s juggling his bullshit and real life.
Gus gets a call from Juan Bolsa (Javier Grajeda), angry about the DEA agent being shot. He knows the Salamancas acted out of order. He just doesn’t know, for sure, that Gus had anything to do with it. The slithering chicken man is a slippery bastard.
Walt gets a look at the remaining Salamanca – Leonel (Daniel Moncada) – barely hanging on. When the brother gets a look at him, he recognises Heisenberg. Crawling out of bed at him. To others, just a bit of insanity. To Walt it’s much more sinister. The chemistry teacher has other issues, dealing with his partner back at the lab, too. And he’s piecing together the fact the Salamancas were coming for him, not Hank. Back with Jr, there’s an excellent moment with him reading about Pablo Escobar, sitting next to someone, his father, much the same.
Worse is dealing with Gus. Instead of telling the truth, Walt lies about what’s going on in his personal life and making excuses for them not meeting the quota on time. This isn’t something he should be doing, it’ll easily come back to bite him in the ass. Sooner than later. There’s only so much juggling the man can do. He’s slipping.
IMG_0225At the hospital, Walt sees part of the bite back already happening. Gus Fring shows up to feed the DEA with Los Pollos Hermanos. Moreover, he’s personally offering a $10K reward for any information pertaining to what happened to Hank. Christ! It’s more than tense seeing them in a room together, Walt’s family there, Merkert. Gus even reveals, in front of them all – directed at Walt – that he met Hank awhile back, the collection jar for Walt’s illness. Such a superbly written scene, it’s full of suspense.
Walt rushes to speak with Gus before he leaves, knowing now the boss man knew about Hank. This brings new worries to light, that this was a possible by-product and that Gus is sending a message. He wants an assurance of his family’s safety, receiving nothing concrete until everyone rushes to see Leonel dying in his bed. Later, Hank’s confirmed to be pulling through. Except our meth extraordinaire knows he’s responsible for so much more destruction than ever before.
Gus: “I hide in plain sight, just like you.”
Juan’s figuring things out, as well. He knows Gus is behind the whole mess, federales staking him out after the death of the remaining Salamanca. And the chicken man sits comfortably, knowing he can’t be tied to anything, as Juan is killed in his home to tie the last bit off. Cold as ice.
IMG_0227This is a favourite episode of mine. There’s a lot of wild things happening in such a subdued way. Progression of characters to boot, like Jesse, Walt, and the beginning of the Gale situation which extends far beyond his firing from the lab.
“Kafkaesque” is next and it’s another fantastic chapter in Season 3, with a damn fine title.

The Walking Dead – Season 5, Episode 1: “No Sanctuary”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 1: “No Sanctuary”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the Season 4 finale, “A” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Strangers” – click here
IMG_0236In that railway car where last we saw Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang, we see Gareth (Andrew J. West) and his own friends. They hear the sounds of screams outside somewhere. Obviously, their standing changed. Drastically.
Now we hear our survivors talking, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) telling of what happened when they arrived at Terminus, Daryl (Norman Reedus) speaking of the car which abducted Beth (Emily Kinney). As they prepare with anything possible – belts, a scrap of metal, whatever’s near – to fight off the people who’ve taken them captive.
But they’re ambushed, taken into a building where bodies are being cut up. Bins marked FEED, BURN, WASH. Blood. They’re cannibals. Rick and his people are lined up on their knees in front of a trough. This is where they crack people in the head with a baseball bat before slitting their throats, draining the bodies. The first? The young man, Sam (Robin Lord Taylor), who Rick ran into while he and Carol (Melissa McBride) were scavenging together.
Before Glenn (Steven Yeun) can meet his comic book death, Gareth interrupts with menial numbers, counting shells they’ve used up. Then he questions Rick about the bag he buried. The former sheriff tells him straight: “Theres guns in it.” He even lists the various weapons in there, too. Telling Gareth there’s a machete in there with his name on it. Terminus runs on a tight schedule, in order to appear welcoming, as sanctuary. So the killing needs to be finished.
Only it doesn’t get done. An explosion sounds outside, the building shakes. Somebody’s attacking Terminus.
IMG_0238Carol and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) are on their way up the tracks with Judith. We see how much more used to surviving Carol is juxtaposed with everyone else, simply because she had to survive an abusive husband. Although I’d argue she and Tyreese are a good pair; he’s had to survive being black in America, now all this shit. Soon, they hear gunfire up ahead, which luckily draws away a horde of walkers that was heading for them.
They bump into a man named Martin (Chris Coy) and take him hostage, he says they’ve got the “boy and the samurai” and the group attacked their people. Carol is prepared to go killing while Tyreese is left with Judith, watching over their captive. She prepares to head on by covering herself in a zombie’s guts. Meanwhile, Martin chips away at Tyreese, taunting that he and the baby are “going to die today.” But I wouldn’t be so sure about that, despite the guy making a couple good points. No reason to keep him around, and that’s the difference between Tyreese and these people at Terminus. He’s not willing to kill indiscriminately. Not yet.
At the Terminus fence, Carol sees Rick and the others bound, carted off elsewhere. She readies her rifle, scoping out the surroundings. Locating a large propane tank, a group of walkers closing in on the compound. She blows a hole in the tank, then sets off a firework to light the blaze. This was the explosion we heard.
Now the fence is open, walkers are headed inside, and she’s given her friends a fighting chance. Carol moves in, covered in guts, like a goddamn bad ass.
IMG_0240Terminus is falling, fast. Inside, Rick cuts himself free then opens up the remaining men. He gets the others loose, though in the railway car the rest of the gang are worried, hearing the madness just beyond the doors. Although Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) assure the group they’ll be okay, long as they’re ready to fight when the time comes. And Michonne (Danai Gurira), she looks ready as ever!
Glenn makes clear to Rick they have to save people locked in a shipping container in the yard: “Thats still who we are. It has to be.” They do, and only one insane man is left inside. He ends up bitten by walkers. Seeing Glenn insist on keeping their humanity, coupled with Tyreese’s mindset, there’s rays of hope throughout the violence and the insanity. To know human beings CAN keep themselves, despite it being a hard battle.
Rick commandeers an assault rifle, as he and Daryl make their way across the yard to Glenn and Bob at the container. In the compound, Carol finds Daryl’s crossbow and other items, as well as the shrine-like room with all the names of the dead written in a circle. As well as one of the leaders, Mary (Denise Crosby). The two women end up fighting tooth and nail, until Carol gets the drop on her; Mary tries explaining herself, but fuck that. She’s left with a bullet in her and some zombie friends.
Mary: “Youre the butcher, or youre the cattle.”
IMG_0241At the cabin, Martin gets his hands on Judith while Tyreese looks out the window at a pack of walkers. He forces Tyreese to go outside. Holy fuck. Soon enough our man busts open the front door, crawling on top of his captive with a knife. Choosing to beat him brutally instead. To death.
Those left in the railway car prepare, and they’re also curious about Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), his information about the possible cure. He says he was involved with the Human Genome Project, knows how to take out “every last dead one ofem.” And this gives them all a boost, a feeling of wanting to survive. Just as Rick opens the door for them to lead the escape. They get themselves over the fence, into the woods. Safety not guaranteed anymore, as if it ever were before. Rick wants to kill the remaining people at Terminus, though the others want to leave; I say kill anyone still breathing.
Then, a reunion – Carol comes out of the trees, into the arms of Daryl. She and Rick making amends for all that’s behind them. And the best one of all? Rick and Carl find Judith again with Tyreese, who has his own moment with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) after so long. More of the beautiful light left in this ugly, new world.
Now it’s on the road again, onto the tracks. Anywhere but there. Before they go Rick makes sure to write NO SANCTUARY for anyone who might happen to pass. We also get another look at long ago, when Gareth and Mary and their people were surviving the monsters at Terminus; the people who turned them into the monsters they later became.
IMG_0243Intense episode, a great way to start off Season 5. Assures that along with the character growth and the tense plots we’re also going to witness more of the gruesome side of the post-zombie apocalypse, again exemplifying how the humans are worse than the walkers.
“Strangers” is next and moves us into the next phase for Rick & Co.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 16: “A”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 16: “A”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 4 episode, “Us” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 5 premiere, “No Sanctuary” – click here
IMG_0212Flashback to the prison, when Hershel (Scott Wilson) was still alive. Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Rick (Andrew Lincoln) return from a run out on the road. This is where we see a softer, more gentle Rick, as he was when trying to live the live of a farmer, moving away from all the violence. At least as far as possible.
Flash-forward to Rick after some brutal moment, his face and hands stained in blood. All by himself on a road, sitting against a vehicle. What’s happened to him? This opener is a juxtaposition of Rick in a safe place, to Rick on the road, unsure, unsafe, not knowing what’s coming next.
IMG_0214Flash just a little back from the current moment. Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are at their latest camp. They go out hunting, looking for something to fill their empty stomachs. Still on the way to Terminus.
Suddenly they hear screams in the forest. Without thinking, Carl rushes toward them. It’s a man in the middle of a pack of walkers. Rick stops his boy from shooting, they can’t save him. The man’s eaten alive, though not before a couple of the walkers notice the trio nearby. They rush away, finding nothing but walkers. After they kill them, they’re further on down the road. Where they come across that truck against which Rick sits in the opening.
IMG_0215 That night they camp on the road, using the truck to sleep. Rick and Michonne sit by a fire, talking together, planning on the last leg of their journey. Then come noises in the dark. Soon, men are upon them – The Claimers, Joe (Jeff Kober) leading them. Now the trio are in a terrifying place, at the end of guns belonging to men looking for revenge against Rick, for their dead friend. When Daryl turns up with them, Rick’s surprised. Of course he doesn’t want his old friends hurt; he offers himself up to them for “blood.”
But the Claimers don’t care. They beat the shit out of Daryl, planning ugly things for both Carl and Michonne while forcing Rick to watch. However, our trusty sheriff will not let this violence pass. When pushed to the limit, he bites out Jeff’s throat – raw, primal, vicious. Blood everywhere. Our survivors turn the tables fast, killing the rest. Except for the man who was about to rape Carl, for whom a special stabbing is in order. The son watches as his father guts and slices the guy to sloppy pieces right there.
THIS IS THE EVOLUTION OF RICK GRIMES! He realises that being a farmer can never be his identity, no matter how safe the world can feel. He must retain all sides of himself, particularly that brutality. In order to survive in a world full of primitive cavemen.
IMG_0217Flashback to Hershel, taking Rick out to the yard. He’s showing them where they’ll build a farm, raising pigs and farming the land, planting seeds, growing crops. This is when Rick decided on giving up his gun, for so long. Before now, realising that – unfortunately – the war isn’t over, not like then with Hershel. The time of the old man is over, which is sad. But it is, and it’s a lesson Rick nearly learned at the price of his boy’s life.
Current day, we’re back to the opener. Rick sitting by the truck, stained in blood; inside Carl sleeps after all the terror, Michonne soothing him. Daryl explains to Rick what happened on the road, losing Beth (Emily Kinney) to a kidnapping, falling in with the Claimers, et cetera. “I didnt know what they were,” he tells Rick.
The gang keep heading for Terminus, though they cut through the forest instead of going straight on. To get themselves a sneaky look into the place, unsure of what they’ll find. Alone together, Michonne tells Carl about her little boy died; her boyfriend Mike and his friend Terry got high as the refugee camp fell, getting bitten, so she let them turn and turned them into dogs on leashes: “It was insane. It was sick. It felt like what I deserved, dragginthem around so Id always know.” She credits Andrea, Rick, and Carl for each bringing her back from becoming a monster.
Heading into Terminus, Rick buries guns. Just in case. They go forward and their initial impression isn’t totally warm. They surprise the locals by walking on into the main building, meeting a man named Gareth (Andrew J. West) and another named Alex (Tate Ellington). They welcomes them, they introduce themselves. But then trust is the issue. They want to see the group’s guns. Things go well, no weapons are taken only inspected.
When they’re shown the rest of the place, Rick notices items which seem familiar – a poncho, riot gear, a watch like that belonging to Hershel and after that Glenn, among other belongings. Rick pulls his gun, not wanting his group to eat any of the food or do anything until they’ve figured the place out wholly.
IMG_0219Flash to the prison once more. Rick sees the difference between Carl and the other kids; he cleans and takes apart a gun while another plays with Lego. This is where he tried to show Carl how to be another way, to farm, to live a less violent life. Leaving their guns while they garden.
A great cut goes right to Carl, holding his gun trained on the people of Terminus, following his dad’s lead. Rick demands to know about the watch, the riot gear, so on. Eventually, a gunfight erupts, but they’re outnumbered and definitely outgunned. Coming to a point where they negotiate for their lives, which puts them in a railway car in the Terminus lot. A defeat.
But inside the car they find more familiarity – Glenn and the rest of the survivors and Abraham’s people. Back in the one place, everybody in solidarity. No longer a defeat, a strength that will build to the next season.
Rick: “Theyre gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out
Abraham
: “Find out what?”
Rick
: “Theyre fuckin with the wrong people
IMG_0220Season 4 is one of my favourites, because we move out into wider territory, as well as see that evolution in Rick from where he’s been to the person he realises he must be/become to survive the post-apocalypse landscape. That last line by Rick, unedited on the home release Blu ray/DVD, is perfect. Genuinely awesome writing, a pumped up way to close out the season.
Season 5 is great, too. Lots of intensity, character development, and more ahead.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 14: “The Grove”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 14: “The Grove”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Alone” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 4 episode, “Us” – click here
IMG_0197Even though Carol (Melissa McBride), Tyreese (Chad Coleman), baby Judith, Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino), and Mika (Kyla Kenedy) are together, things aren’t well. There’s something decidedly wrong about Lizzie, whose treatment of the walkers is something beyond misunderstanding. She is fundamentally flawed, in some way. Mika understands the walkers, but her sister doesn’t seem to see the world in the same light.
For now they’re headed for Terminus, wondering what they’ll find at the end of the tracks. Hope is what it gives them at the moment. Poor Tyreese needs it, he can barely get a proper night’s sleep. Luckily he has Carol around to tend to his wound with some tree sap, help his fever. Still doesn’t know what she did, though. Could cause incredible problems later on.
IMG_0200Carol compares herself to “the Widow Douglas” from Tom Sawyer, as the girls debate which one of them is Tom, which is Huck. A sweet scene in the midst of all that ugliness. Love when the writers toss that in. Maybe some people feel it’s like a soap opera with zombies. Fuck those people; this is a great character study of humanity, that’s what this show does best.
When they’re alone, Carol and Mika talk about being able to kill. The little girl knows her sister is “messed up.” She just doesn’t want to have to kill people; she gets the walkers, but her morality won’t let her, under any circumstances, commit murder. Not ever, not in retaliation or anything else. What Mika illustrates to us is how humanity has changed. She recognises people who murder, for whatever reason now in the post-zombie apocalypse, many of them “werent like that before.”
The group come across a cabin in the woods. Carol suggests they rest a couple days before heading on the road longer to Terminus. On the horizon they see smoke rising, far away, some kind of fire. So they play it safe, checking the grounds thoroughly to make sure they can stay there a bit. Outside the cabin Mika puts down a zombie to save her sister and Judith, sort of proving herself. Meanwhile, Lizzie’s falling deeper into her own mind. And everyone around her, Mika included, can see it getting so much worse.
Mika: “Just look at the flowers like youre supposed to
IMG_0201At night they all settle down, in an actual house, in a warm living room. Even a doll for Mika to play with, a comfy chair where Tyreese can relax, as Lizzie helps Carol shell pecans. Could be longer of a stay than just a few days the way it looks.
The opening scene returns now, in context, with Lizzie shambling around in the yard with a zombie. “She wanted a friend,” the girl screams when Carol puts it down. The girl’s mind can’t handle this world. She’s all but broken in two psychologically. It’s actually horrifying to watch, some of the more emotionally straining moments of The Walking Dead as a whole. So different from the experiences of others we’ve seen thus far.
Tyreese talks about the trust he has in Carol, wanting to live in that cabin the four of them. But you can just see the look in her eyes, she knows that without telling him what she did to Karen then later on it will only be worse if it comes out.
Also, we finally discover – for certain, anyways – Lizzie is the one who was feeding the walkers the rats at the prison. We see more of the girl breaking down, her sister Mika trying to snap her out of it. Then a horde of burned up walkers breaks through the trees, roaming from wherever the fire’s raging. The group fight them off with guns, and even Lizzie starts shooting them. Although afterwards she has a bit of a cry. Maybe a turning point?
IMG_0202Lizzie: “I know what I have to do now
Later on, Carol and Tyreese bond together on a walk. When they get back to the cabin they find a shocking mess – Lizzie has killed her sister, leaving the brain untouched. She wants her to reanimate. To show the adults what she’s been talking about this whole time. Such a disturbing thing to watch, especially considering Judith is lying feet away. One of the most hardcore things we’ve seen on the series to date.
Tyreese and Carol discuss their options. She says maybe she ought to take Lizzie and leave. They can’t keep her around Judith. Tyreese doesn’t want that. Then they realise “she cant be around other people.” There’s only one way out of this predicament.
Out into the woods, Carol takes Lizzie to pick some flowers, for when Mika comes back. And she tells the young girl to look at the flowers, as her sister did before. She raises her gun, firing, putting the girl out of her misery while Tyreese watches tearfully from the window. Definitely the hardest thing Carol’s ever had to do, even above suffering through her marriage to an abuser. Her character is amazing, put through so much and she continues to survive, to thrive.
That night Carol and Tyreese sit quietly in the cabin together, and she reveals to him she killed Karen and David. She slides him the gun, telling him to do what he must. Instead, he forgives, choosing not to forget. But he knows she feels the guilt: “Its a part of you now. Me, too.” Then they decide it’s time to leave that place, to go on towards Terminus.
IMG_0204What a spectacular episode. So intense and emotional all around. One of my favourites of the series, definitely. A chilling chapter in the whole journey. “Us” is next and we’re coming up on another one of the most tense, brutally thrilling episodes of the whole show.

Better Call Saul – Season 3, Episode 10: “Lantern”

AMC’s Better Call Saul
Season 3, Episode 10: “Lantern”
Directed by Peter Gould
Written by Gennifer Hutchison

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 3 episode, “Fall” – click here
Pic 1We see young Chuck reading to a little Jimmy by light of a lantern, two brothers once so close. It’s like a marker to show us how far Chuck (Michael McKean) and Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) have come, how deeply tarnished their relationship is at this point. A long, brutal journey. I’m also curious as to how long Chuck’s illness has been going on; were they camping, or was it merely how he liked to read, by lantern?
But more important, back to Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), who’s in rough shape. Alive, though. That’s the main thing. She’s been pulling way too hard for the business and it isn’t a case of she’s working too much, it’s a case of she has to work that much. Because being in a partnership with Jimmy requires you do the extra work.
What about Chuck? He’s in a meeting with Howard (Patrick Fabian) and a bunch of other lawyers. He lays out what he sees as the only options. He doesn’t want to be the “agent of [the firm’s] destruction” and would like to settle things quickly. With only a handshake between Howard and himself. His partner’s not so keen. Feels that Chuck has let the McGill vendetta takeover his better judgement in regards to the firm. Nor does he like that the old guy went straight for a lawsuit against him after a bit of a disagreement. Howard decides on paying Chuck millions out of pocket to resolve their dispute. Followed by a sort of public shaming, masquerading as gratitude.
Pic 1AJimmy looks after Kim while she recuperates in bed, unable to move much because of her cast and injuries. She replenishes her electrolytes while he cooks breakfast. He lays out his plans about the office, subletting and such. That she may want to work from home. Kim, instead of feeling happy to be alive, feels guilty for driving off the road. Could have killed somebody. Yet again, I have to say: JIMMY’S FAULT! She’s spent her time picking up after him. Sure, she got in the car herself. Doesn’t change the fact he’s put pressure on the business, as Chuck did with his own, due to a personal, family feud. Everything else stems from that.
Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) goes to the shop owned by Nacho’s (Michael Mando) father, to check out the whole outfit. The don wants to talk with papi, though Nacho is wary. The two men meet, they have a tenuous meeting. Hector pulls out a load of cash like it’s meant to make an impression; Mr. Varga is not impressed. His son urges him to be reasonable. Family is what keeps him from doing anything unwise. Despite his morals.
Note: Juxtaposition of the two different views of family values, from the Varga family to the McGills, is a truly poignant way to set these stories together throughout the various episodes. Makes for a cohesive flow you don’t necessarily see in the beginning, until the plots open up more.
Francesca (Tina Parker) is also taking care of things for Kim, helping out. She’s rescheduled things and made the workload easier during recovery. Kim is finally starting to slow down. She goes to Blockbuster – still open at this point a few years ago – renting a ton of movies. Is she trying to fill up her time and actually rest?
Pic 2Meanwhile, Jimmy goes to see Chuck, checking to see if he’s all right. Seems he is, as the place is lit up with lamps and music is playing on the record player. The younger brother is feeling guilty about what’s gone on between them. He has regrets about their relationship. The older brother isn’t particularly enthused with any of it. “Whats the point?” he asks. No reason to regret. He does not believe Jimmy can change: “You hurt people, over and over and over.” Then he drops the bomb that he’s never actually cared much about his younger brother, in one of the MOST COLD HEARTED LINES I’ve heard in my life. Just, whoa. Knocked my socks off.
Later on by himself, the oldest McGill shuts down all the power. Silent admission of his own inability to change, much as he chastises his brother. He thinks there’s still power flowing, even after disconnecting the breaker. He’s going full loony.
Jimmy drops over to see Irene, bringing her balloons and things for her cats. He’s excited about the settlement. It’s clear she doesn’t share that enthusiasm. The other women hate her now, the relationship has changed. His elaborate and nasty plan has ultimately backfired. The old ladies question her integrity; in reality, it his integrity. What a shit person he is, really. Much as I give him a chance, he’s not a good man. What he did to Irene and those ladies is despicable behaviour.
Pic 3Chuck is going mad trying to find the source of his discomfort, believing the electrical meter to still be turning even after he’s disconnected everything. And it does turn, only a tiny bit. It’s his mind amplifying it to magnified heights. The stress in his life, the relationship with Jimmy, everything is exacerbating the mental illness. So, he keeps searching, he won’t stop. He feels along the walls, looking for wherever the last bits of electricity are pumping. He starts ripping and beating holes in the walls, looking close as humanly possible. Leaving him and the house a wreck. Then he actually beats the meter off the pole outside to make it all stop.
In other news, Nacho meets his crew and Don Hector. They’re meeting Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and Juan Bolsa (Javier Grajeda), bringing a message from Don Eladio. “Only one route” across the border from now on, via the Los Pollos Hermanos trucks. Hector gets mouthy with them, getting angry. His heart pumping. Leading to an attack. He hits the ground, passing out. Gus has one of the men call 9-11, sending Juan off and the others hiding guns. Nacho manages to get hold of the fake pills, switching them out for the real ones. And Mr. Fring knows exactly what’s happened.
There’s more to that despicable side of Jimmy. He’s in one of the exercise classes with the ladies again, only this time he’s filling in for the instructor. Erin (Jessie Ennis) interrupts, needing to speak with him. She calls him out on what he did, and he doesn’t realise that his headset is on, broadcasting everything to the class. YOU DONE FUCKED UP, JAMES! He comes across as the monster he is, exposing himself unknowingly to the old folks at Sand Piper. Yet it’s all part of his plan, to get Mrs. Landry to go back on the settlement.
Even though he sort of acknowledges his cruelty, he doesn’t actually accept it.
Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 2.27.27 AMKim and Jimmy are shutting down the office for good. Gone as far as they can go, and I wonder how far they’ll go together after this moment. She’s so loyal to him. It’s a car crash this time. What will it be next time?
And over at Chuck’s, the old guy has had enough. He’s littered the place with books, torn the place apart. Now he’s kicking his lantern at the edge of the table. Kicking it to the floor where it breaks, starting a fire that lights his home ablaze.
Christ. I wonder if this is the end of Chuck McGill. If, so, a vicious and wild end, a damned awful way to commit suicide.
Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 2.39.06 AMWhat a season! They have to go for a Season 4, if not there’s so much wasted. But you know there will be. I want to see the next phase of what happens concerning Fring and Don Hector and Nacho. Plus, we need to see what will become of Chuck! If he dies, this will truly bite at Jimmy’s heart, no matter how heartless he is; it’ll be the final nail in the coffin of his confidence, knowing then he’s someone who’s contributed in the long, terrible downfall of his brother.
Bring on Season 4!

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 4: “100”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 4: “100”
Directed by Alex Garcia Lopez
Written by Alan Page

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, TEOTWAWKI”” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame” – click here
Pic 1We see the journey of Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades), after escaping from the massive fire where he and the group were staying awhile back. So glad to see him back. Although not without struggle and pain. He didn’t simply escape the fire, he barely made it out. His hands and neck and legs burned. Walking through the streets, he winds up stalked by one of the dead. He barely makes it away from it when a dog draws the thing away.
One thing I fail to mention each episode is how much I love the low-key, subdued opening. I also dig the original series’ opening sequence, the music. But something about this series is more unsettling, very creepy, an ominous sound leading us into every episode.
Pic 1ADaniel comes across a man named Efrain (Jesse Borrego), he seems like a bit of a religious man. He kills the dead like an old school vampire hunter, only putting his version of the stake – a long nail – through the zombies’ heads. Either way, it’s another human to help Daniel, at least for now. He aids the old man in getting someplace safe; our friend isn’t well, and definitely parched. They get a bit of water from a nearby fountain, it looks like it only comes on at certain times a day. Each Tuesday, 5 PM. Ah, the water wars we saw last episode, a situation into which Strand (Colman Domingo) has put himself. Looks like Daniel may wind up there, too.
Daniel: “What are you?”
Efrain: “Me? Im the fifth Beatle. You?”
Efrain is a wild dude. He bottles water when he can, then heads out on a bicycle cart with a speaker shouting AGUA in the streets to alert the thirsty people. At the same time men patrol the streets in vehicles with guns, not wanting a black market on water to crop up.
Our water dealer takes Daniel to a woman named Lola Guerrero (Lisandra Tena). She assess his leg, that it’s starting to rot. Either scrape away the pants burned into the wound, or it’s possible he’ll lose it. Poor old lad, he’s got to take the pain in order not to draw out the dead too much. He and Lola sing a song together in Spanish, as she goes about scraping out the wound. Lucky for him it works, and he’s only relegated to a crutch for awhile until it heals.
Pic 2Something is rotting in you far worse than your leg
When Efrain and Daniel bond, the former learns more about the latter. Mainly the fact Daniel has killed “ninetysix” people, that he feels he isn’t a good man and has to pay a debt, to redeem himself for his sins. He tells Efrain about leaving El Salvador, coming to Los Angeles to become a barber. He also cuts his new friend’s hair; an intimate and powerful gesture in its own right.
Now the old guy’s biggest worry is for his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), wondering where she is, how she is, if she’s safe, or what is the case. Even after nearly burning alive he’s still hard on himself. Because he believes he possibly burned his own daughter to death in that fire. He seeks forgiveness, but Efrain isn’t the one to give it to him.
I only hope Daniel doesn’t push himself too far. He’s determined to find redemption. So he prays. And out from the sky comes a lightning bolt, crashing into the head of a walker that nearly chomps down on him. A sign, if there ever were one. Still, Daniel ends up washing away in flood waters with the zombie. He winds up at the Gonzalez Dam, and by a stroke of luck he’s located by Lola. Dante Esquivel (Jason Manuel Olazabal) runs the operation, “distributing water” in his own fashion. A man named J.C. (Ricardo Chacon) confronts Lola when she brings the old guy around, though they cover, saying he was desperate for work. They put him out around the drainage area, hauling bodies. Where he’s able to get a good look at the dam’s entrance, where Strand soon winds up.
Daniel starts to see what daily life is like there, a far cry from where he once was and yet troubling. Everyone stands for Dante as he walks into the lunch hall, except for our man. It’s like a cult, ruled by authoritarian hand. This guy J.C. has got it in for Daniel, too. A fight breaks out when he tries acting like an asshole a bit too much. This gets the boss’ attention. Turns out, Dante knows a bit about Daniel, at least what he can gather from knowing the old man lived in El Salvador, the capital in fact.
He’s got a lip tattoo which reads SN, prompting the boss to speak the words “Sombra Negra“; in reference to the Black Shadow, a death squad in Salvador that targeted criminals and gang-bangers for execution in a form of government-backed vigilante justice. Now we see more of why Officer Salazar feels how he does about himself, why he’s in a sort of moral prison in his mind. He’s done some seriously bad fucking shit.
Pic 3With this revelation, Daniel’s ingratiated himself into the inner circle of the dam. Dante wants him on their team. Although our guy is mostly just concerned with finding a way to search for his daughter. So he’s out on patrols with the boss’ boys, they’re looking for sneaky people stealing water where they shouldn’t be. Daniel watches the clock, worried Efrain will show himself at 5 PM. Afterwards he leads them right to his new friend. What a cold move. He tries telling Lola that it was to protect her, that they’d find out sooner than later. Same kind of bullshit he used to convince himself while working on a Salvadoran death squad years earlier.
Lola: “This place is perfect for you. You are a thug. Go get your prize, thug.”
Finally, Daniel watches Strand stroll past the gates. Taken to see the boss. And later when Victor is placed in a cell, Daniel goes to see him with water. A meeting after so long apart. He hears that Ofelia made it out, she’s alive. This gives him hope, for the first time in forever. However, the old guy won’t believe him, believing this is all lies. Oh, christ. He’s going off the deep end. This is not good, at all.
Not to mention Daniel’s called int to torture information out of Efrain. This is ugly. Maybe some of the ugliest stuff we’ve seen so far on Fear the Walking Dead. As if he didn’t have any farther down to fall, after the death squad reveal. He’s being pulled back into that old, hideous life he fled in Salvador. If he even does make it back to Ofelia, he’ll never be the same person. And redemption can’t ever really come.
For Efrain’s sake, Lola throws herself on him. Before Daniel can kill him. Just a tragic situation altogether. You know where they’re being taken, too. Out to the damn, to face a fall. Strand, Lola, Efrain, and more are faced with execution for their crimes against Dante. Instead of tossing them all over, Daniel turns on Dante, pulling a gun and putting a bullet in his head. Saving the remainder of the people from a nasty fate. This is a start to redeeming what he’s done. He offers Lola a gun, a chance to do him in; he begs forgiveness. And it’s that she gives him.
Pic 4WOW, this is a stunner of an episode! One of my absolute favourites. Because Daniel Salazar was always interesting to me, this only upped the stakes. His backstory, his history is vile, and with the fall of society, the fall of civilised men comes another moment where he must face the ugliness of his past.
“Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame” is next week. Haven’t been this excited for a new episode in awhile.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 13: “Alone”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 13: “Alone”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Curtis Gwinn

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Still” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Grove” – click here
IMG_0188Here we get a look at Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) on the road before he met the big group. He was all by himself, wandering the wasteland in search of food, the next place to stay and rest. It went this way a long time. He’d stop and hole up someplace where the walkers couldn’t get him, drink a bit of cough syrup or whatever booze he could scavenge. A hard existence in the zombie apocalypse, being an alcoholic. Easy to try and block it all out with the aid of booze. Easy to get lost in your own head then, too.
Then came the day he met Daryl (Norman Reedus), riding on his bike down the road, Glenn (Steven Yeun) in a truck. They ask how long he’s been by himself, though he can’t exactly keep track. They ask him the “three questions” and Bob answers honestly. Daryl offers for him to come along, he gladly accepts. Because this, in a way, is saving him from himself. Even if he has a few alcoholism-related bumps over time.
IMG_0189In the present, Bob is with his Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), but they’re definitely not in a safe place. Walkers come from out the fog, unseen until so near. The three friends fight against them, taking each down. Except Bob winds up getting bitten. But lucky enough it didn’t pierce the bandage he already has on his previous wound.
Beth (Emily Kinney) and Daryl are doing better. He’s teaching her to track in the woods, to shoot the crossbow, all those sort of things. She ends up stepping in a trap. It doesn’t hobble her, though it isn’t helpful. No injury in this new world is helpful because you never know if you’ll find the medicine/First Aid materials to fix it, if it can even be fixed.
First mention of the word Terminus, the place up the tracks. Signs everywhere point to its direction. Sasha worries it’s “too good to be true” but both Bob and Maggie believe it’s worth the chance, the latter knowing Glenn would go there in search of her if he saw one of those signs.
Across a field Daryl and Beth find themselves a nice plantation-style home. Nobody inside, no walkers. Although they notice how clean it is there, that someone’s been staying. In fact, it’s a funeral home. There are bodies laid out, dressed, makeup done for a showing. Beth finds it’s beautiful, that somebody still cares about the dead.
IMG_0191In conversation together, Bob and Sasha talk about what’s best going forward. She wants to find a place to stick it out awhile; higher ground someplace. He’d rather go on, hoping there’s community at Terminus for them. A destination, a goal to reach. We see that Bob doesn’t like being on his own, nor does he like isolation, of any kind; even in a group. He’d rather be tight knit with others, Sasha doesn’t yet understand how low he sank by himself.
Beth: “Its like I said, theres still good people.”
Beth and Daryl settle in at the funeral home, even though it seems someone’s been staying there before. She plays a bit of piano by candlelight, he lays down in a coffin for a little relaxation. They’re comforted, even if only for the time being. Like life is normal, as it was once. You’ve got to take the little things when they come.
In the morning, Bob and Sasha wake to find Maggie’s gone on her own, not wanting them to risk their lives for her cause. He wants to run on, find her; Sasha feels otherwise. Regardless, they go together. Maggie’s on up the tracks, she finds another Terminus sign and decides on leaving a note for Glenn, in case he happens to come by the same route.
IMG_0193Suddenly, Daryl and Beth are crowded by a horde of zombies in the funeral home, breaking through the door. They run for outside quickly, teeth gnashing at their heels. He gets locked into the room downstairs, facing a load of the dead, but gets himself out with a bit of quick thinking.
But it’s too late. Someone’s taken Beth away in a car, her things scattered in the road; a black car, with either a cross or a First Aid symbol in the window. Leaving the last Dixon brother on his own once more. And he’s devastated, already feeling the people he lost were partly his fault. Now another one gone. Heartbreaking.
IMG_0194Sasha decides she doesn’t want to go on to Terminus. Then Bob lays a kiss on her, not wanting them to split on their journey. He heads off on his own like before and refuses to let Maggie go forward without him. Sasha looks for a place to stay, for however long she can. Funny enough, she comes across Maggie, who’s hiding from the dead. Noise wakes them up.
The women are back together, fighting off a group of walkers. When they’re done Maggie tells Sashs she’s needed, that they must stay as one. Not far up the tracks they find Bob again, too.
Along the road, Daryl comes across a familiar face: Joe (Jeff Kober), the one Rick (Andrew Lincoln) almost ran into in the house a ways back. These boys are the Claimers, a group who take what they can amongst themselves, claiming what’s theirs along the way. These are rough dudes, but right now Daryl would probably go on with anybody, if only to feel a part of something again.
IMG_0196Lots going on in this episode. We’re seeing the beginning of many things, from Terminus to the Claimers and their whole racket. Can’t wait to watch them all come together more. “The Grove” is next.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”
Directed by Julius Ramsay
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Claimed” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Alone” – click here
IMG_0179On the road together, just the two of them, Beth (Emily Kinney) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) face harder times than a lot of their friends. They seek refuge wherever and whenever they can, walkers everywhere outside. It’s never easy, though this is a new level even for them.
Beth is giving it her all. She’s come a long way from the girl who once wanted to kill herself and be done with the world. She starts her own fires, rigs a line of hubcaps to use as a signal for intruders. Daryl kills a rattlesnake for them to eat for dinner; he’s a bit more eager to chow down than she is, and I don’t blame her.
She’s getting restless. She wants to go have a drink, like in a bar. He doesn’t pay much mind to it, believing she’s just rambling. But she’s serious, and she is going with or without his help. He tries bringing her back to their camp. She just won’t have it, sitting around doing nothing except surviving. It’s hard to take, especially for young people who’ve barely lived their lives outside a farm.
Beth: “Im not staying in this suck ass camp!”
IMG_0180They find a golf course and head into the country club attached. Inside is dark and full of walkers. Beth is almost chomped by one before she stabs it in the head. Daryl scavenges anything and everything he can find. In the pro shop they find new clothes among other things, including a female zombie, bloody, dressed in clothes with a sign reading RICH BITCH across her chest. Beth insists they cover her up, for dignity’s sake. Long after dingnity has ceased to walk the Earth.
Further on they run into a grandfather clock that starts sounding; not a good sign, as it draws walkers to their position. They move on, fighting off a few of the dead while they go. Daryl messes up Beth’s brand new white t-shirt when he whacks a head to bits all over her. They manage to get to the bar, where she finds a bottle of peach Schnapps. Shitty booze, but you take what you can get! Daryl says fuck that, they need to find a better drink for her first one.
IMG_0183He knows the backwoods, he’s a hunting, tracking machine. They head out into the woods in search of a cabin, one Daryl found before with Michonne. Inside he knows there’ll be moonshine, somewhere. Just like back home with daddy. This is where things start to take a little turn. Because we already know Daryl Dixon didn’t have it easy, we’ve sen the lash marks on his back, dug deep in his skin. He’s been to a terrible place as a boy, lucky to have escaped, I imagine. Being in a place reminiscent of home, drinking shine, it brings up emotions he probably didn’t plan on experiencing.
Before Daryl can go over the edge as their drinking game goes wrong, he sees himself clearly. He takes pleasure in killing the already dead. Then she points out that not everybody is like him, they can’t shrug it all off. She doesn’t think he cares about those they’ve lost.
He doesn’t want to be that man. He feels responsible for what happened at the prison, for Hershel’s death, for the place going to ruin, and he feels that their friends are all dead. And Beth can only think to hug him, hold him close.
Beth: “Killing them is not supposed to be fun
IMG_0184 The two of them get closer, they talk more about life before the turn. Daryl talks about a stupid situation with Merle at a tweaker’s house, and he reveals he didn’t have a job before everything went to hell. He and his older brother were drifters, essentially. He was just “some redneck asshole with an even bigger asshole for a brother.”
Their bonding helps them feel better about the world. And they’re becoming better friends, as well. Later, they decide to burn the little cabin down. To leave the bad memories with it, to start fresh and let the fire signal a new beginning. In a way, it’s Daryl leaving part of his ugly past behind, a way to symbolically tear down that part of his life that’s useless to keep around even in memory. They head onto the road, again, and the cabin burns behind them. Flipping the bird as they go.
IMG_0186A quiet, more subdued episode. I did enjoy it. First time I saw this one I didn’t find it as engaging. This time around, I pick out more nuance than before. It’s a great look at Daryl, as it is Beth, too. They’re both on show in their own respects. Love it.
“Alone” is next and we’ll see more of our survivors trying to get down the road in one piece.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 11: “Claimed”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 11: “Claimed”
Directed by Seith Mann
Written by Nichole Beattie & Seth Hoffman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Inmates” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Still” – click here
IMG_0169Sergeant Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and his people have picked up Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) on the road; they’ve got a large military truck. The Sarge is a tough motherfucker, a real slick talker, too. Tara finds it strange that he was smiling while he killed. His response? “Well, Im the luckiest guy in the world.”
Oh, he’s a treat! Not only is Abraham a solid character, Michael Cudlitz is a fantastic actor whose role on Southland is one of the all-time greats on television. A welcomed addition on The Walking Dead.
IMG_0170In a house together, Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) sit together at a table eating cereal. They have a nice morning, until he remembers Judith, imagining the worst. Nice that we know the truth, though painful to watch them not know.
Michonne is more committed to staying with people, she knows the depths of depravity to which her own mind sinks when she’s isolated; as we saw recently. At the same time, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is worried, faltering in his own confidence. He doesn’t know what the best pay forward is anymore. This is perhaps his lowest point yet, and he’s seen some shit. But there’s much more at play at this juncture, after the war with the Governor, the fall of the prison. He’s got some personal development to do. And Season 4 takes him to an extraordinary place. Starting with his day at home alone while Carl and Michonne go out scavenging together.
The pair head off through the neighbourhood, they get to know one another more than before. I like seeing them together because they’re friends. He also sees her, slightly at times, like a mother figure. She’s super bad ass, so it’s only naturally he feels comfort in being around her. She agrees to answer questions about her old life after they’ve cleared a room in the house; on they go, as he discovers her boy’s name was Andre, among other tidbits. They also stumble upon an ugly end to a once happy family in their home.
IMG_0176Then suddenly Rick wakes in his bed to voices downstairs. A bunch of men. Dangerous sounds. WHO ARE THEY? He can’t find his gun, so he rolls out of bed and hides underneath it. A man with a gun walks through the upstairs hallway, searching the rooms. Then into Rick’s room. The man lays down on the bed.
How the fuck is our sheriff getting out of this one? The man falls asleep and another one comes in, angry, wanting to lie down. They fight, the man in the bed sees Rick under it but is choked out by the other. Still not getting anywhere fast.
Once Glenn wakes up, again, he’s riding on the truck with Tara and their new friends. He isn’t exactly thrilled, he wants to be searching for Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Abraham is on his own mission. He doesn’t particularly want to let Glenn leave, either. He says they’re on a mission to get Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) to Washington, he knows what started the zombie plague. They want Glenn’s help, he’s a fighter. But he needs to find his wife. They wind up having a proper fist fight before anything else happens. Like walkers coming out of the trees. We also see Dr. Porter’s uselessness, too. He puts a hole in the gas tank firing at walkers.
More importantly, back to Rick – he waits until the latest man in the bed sleeps, then crawls out slowly. He makes it to another room before Joe (Jeff Kober) walks by, tossing a tennis ball around leisurely. Rick tries to find a way out, hearing that they’ve found evidence a woman’s been staying in the house. The men start gathering downstairs. In the bathroom, Rick runs into a man on the toilet, whom he strangles to death.
IMG_0173Abraham can’t figure out how to fix the truck, the tank is busted. Rather than stick around Glenn leaves, and Tara can’t leave his side. The Sarge doesn’t want to leave, though his friend Rosita (Christian Serratos) decides they’ll go, as well. Nowhere else to be, right? A destination is a destination, you can’t stop for long on the road in the post-apocalypse world.
Rick gets himself out the window before anyone can find him in the house, down to the ground and in time to meet with Michonne and Carl, so they don’t walk into a house of horrors. They get away without anyone knowing they were there. Except, is the gang’s dead buddy in the bathroom reanimating? Yikes, that’s brutal. Could mean trouble if they were able to track Rick.
On the train tracks, Rick, Carl, and Michonne come across a sign pointing to a destination further down the road. A sanctuary, a community, directions on a map. They decide to head onward. Will it be what they hope?
IMG_0178A great episode, introducing more stories and characters. As well as sets up a few different things we’ll find coming back into play the more we get towards the end of Season 4. “Still” is next.

Better Call Saul – Season 3, Episode 9: “Fall”

AMC’s Better Call Saul
Season 3, Episode 9: “Fall”
Directed by Minkie Spiro
Written by Gordon Smith

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Slip” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Lantern” – click here
Pic 1Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) is one slick fella. He buys packaged cookies, then wraps them up like he made them himself. Over to see a few people at Sandpiper Crossing, mainly the “class representative” for the case, Irene. He’s digging around for information about the case, any settlements. He winds up going through a box of an old lady’s things, looking at papers. Trying to influence her decisions. There’s an offer for settlement on the table, he pushes her to take the deal. Although she’d rather listen to the lawyers.
The guy is strapped for cash, not being in business is a kick in the ass. I’m just wondering where this line of thinking, this desperation, the scheming is going to head in the long run. Well, we know already: nowhere nice.
Pic 2 (1)Back with Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), he’s meeting with a familiar face from Breaking Bad over at Madrigal: Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser). This is the deal with Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). He’s a “logistics consultant” at the company, on paper. But we absolutely understand what he’ll be doing for Fring, it isn’t consulting on anything. All a way to launder a bit of money, making things look legitimate. Mike’s smart, though. He covers all bases before moving ahead. On anything.
Note: What we get to see here is the beginning of the network which causes trouble for Mike and Lydia and Walter White in the late stages of Breaking Bad after Mr. Fring is murdered.
Trouble with the insurance over at Hamlin, Hamlin, & McGill. The stuff Jimmy started previously. Poor Chuck (Michael McKean) isn’t happy with what’s going on now, as the insurance company makes clear that coverage for him after his recent court appearance has become a problem. He threatens litigation, then the brokers leave displeased. Howard (Patrick Fabian) is trying to fix the situation, asking Chuck to “hang up [his] spurs.” And he isn’t suggesting, he’s telling his old friend this is how it must be.
And Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) is off working on more business, as usual. She’s working with Mr. Gatwood (Chris Mulkey), looking into problems with the border on the land where he’s drilling. When she goes to leave she ends up stuck in the dirt, so she finds a piece of board for traction. She gets the car out and nearly puts it into some railing, but manages to stop. She doesn’t need anybody’s help, she’s great on her own. In many ways.
Pic 2 (2)In a parking garage, Jimmy meets with Howard. He wants to talk about Sandpiper. All he gets is humiliation. Howard calls him down to the dirt for being phoney, only wanting a nice payday and not actually caring about clients as he claims. Ouch. True, though.
Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) and Gus Fring meet, accompanied by the usual crowd such as Nacho (Michael Mando). They’re having a phone conference with another business partner. Seems that things aren’t going the way Don Hector would have preferred. Los Pollos Hermanos has the safest route, which does not please him. Then an attack starts hitting him. He reaches for his pills, swallowing some; the fake ones Nacho slipped. How long until this puts him in that wheelchair?
Mall-walking, Jimmy purposefully runs into Irene and her old lady friends. Here, we’re privy to how horrible Jimmy is, truly. He’s digging deep now and doing some of his worst moral work. He plies her with new sneakers, hoping she’ll sway on the settlement. Perfectly fitting that The Night of the Hunter plays in the background while Jimmy goes further, talking to the other old ladies from Sandpiper. He plays them against one another. Using the shoes against her now. Such a bad man. Totally morally bankrupt. He’s perfect for the criminal life.
Nacho talks with his father about Don Hector’s plans, bending him to work for the cartel. It’s a difficult conversation, one he’d hoped they wouldn’t need to have – the coming of Don Hector. All pressured further by the deal recently struck in favour of Fring. There’s nothing they can do, so Nacho advises they go along to get along. Then his father kicks him out.
Pic 3Things spiral out of control with Chuck and Howard, when the former decides on suing the firm. He won’t be kicked out, or else he’ll get paid for his share of the legacy: “Imagine me as your enemy.” Man, oh, man. I don’t see this all ending well for Chuck, though I’m not entirely sure how it’s all going to happen. He’s clearly still having trouble with the electricity issues, coaching himself through using anything with power running through it. There’s got to be a breaking point, unfortunately.
More scheming – Jimmy’s doctoring himself a bunch of numbered balls, maybe a bit of Bingo for the crowd at Sandpiper? You got it.
He’s rigging the game for his own purposes, something further to turn the ladies on one another. Irene gets a cold shoulder from every one of them. So sad! Breaks my heart. And he’s playing with these lives all for his own gain. He passes out new cards, handing one specifically to Irene, and then the grift begins. She gets BINGO pretty quick, which pisses off the other women. Tsk, tsk, James.
Jimmy: “B9. Lets hope that biopsy comes back be-nign.”
When nobody claps for Irene it embarrasses her in front of the crowd, she rushes out crying. Jimmy heads out to talk with her. She’s feeling the effects of all the cruelty, then he reels out the story he’s concocted with all his fuckery. SUCH A TERRIBLE MAN. Lord, is he ever a shitheel. Scamming old people to this extent is downright nasty.
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 1.41.08 AMAfterwards, Jimmy shows up to see Kim – with a bottle of that fictional Zafiro Añejo tequila from Breaking Bad – raving about the settlement at Sandpiper. She’s too busy to celebrate. He’s so focused on his deviousness he keeps forgetting about real life happening all around him.
Kim ends up falling asleep briefly at the wheel, putting herself off the road. Files everywhere, her fast is beaten up and bloody. Overworked to the worst extent. She’s not gravely injured; injured nonetheless. This is symptom of her relationship with Jimmy, he’s paying attention to all the wrong things while she’s faced with taking on all responsibility. All alone on the road of life. She could’ve died – maybe another symptom of being involved with him too long is death, far enough down the line. I keep waiting for the day she realises how destructive their relationship has become.
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 1.54.32 AMJimmy somehow escapes all these situations intact. While everyone around him suffers, whether it’s Chuck, Kim, the people at Sandpiper; nobody truly matters to him, ultimately. Much as I pull for him, this episode is one of the worst depths to which he’s sunk. Even if we consider his later trajectory in the original series run of Breaking Bad. This episode’s shown us a lot more of that reptilian side in his personality than ever before.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 3: “Teotwawki”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 3: “Teotwawki”
Directed by Deborah Chow
Written by Ryan Scott

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The New Frontier” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “100” – click here
Pic 1We start with a survivalist, anti-globalist rant by patriot Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie). A video of him at Broke Jaw Ranch. “This is the end of the world as we know it,” he tells us: “Teotwawki.” This is something Trump voters would definitely buy into with buzzwords like “urban hordes” and other xenophobic rhetoric.
A bunch of people are gathered for Charlene, in her memory. The Otto brothers – Troy (Daniel Sharman) and Jake (Sam Underwood). Although people seem to blame Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) a bit. Some of them. Madison makes clear they’re only there to help. Mostly people want to know who took down the plane, to see justice for what’s happened and to prepare for anything worse. What’s clear is there’s a division amongst the ranks of the Otto family. And the camp as a whole.
If you plan for the future, plan for a better one.”
Pic 1ANick’s busy trying to nurse Luciana (Danay Garcia) back to health. She wants to leave, soon as she’s healthy enough. He wants to be able to be safe, to feel protected. He’s kicking himself constantly and feeling as if he’s the one responsible for so many things. But Luciana tries making him realise he’s not a bad person. He’s not a killer, either.
I worry about Troy. He’s clearly a psychopathic person, he has… tendencies. He keeps lurking around Madison, talking about Travis (Cliff Curtis). He asks about her past, so on. In a very unsettling manner. He even admits to having certain issues with social behaviour. The guy’s got a problem with her son now. First it was Travis, now Nick. He is deranged. Wants a woman and a mommy.
Back with Strand (Colman Domingo) we see him trying to find his way. He drives up past a load of Mexicans travelling, stopping at a sort of makeshift border crossing. Strand says he’s looking for a man named Dante, though nobody wants to entertain him, even after offering up his car. Lucky for him Dante (Jason Manuel Olazabal) comes out to say hello.
The Clark family are all worried, for different reasons. Nick says they ought to think of other options than staying at the ranch. Madison would rather stick with what they have, what they know. Also, she feels if they go it was a waste of Travis’ life. Regardless, none of them are on the same page.
Madison goes to talk with Jake and Jeremiah, wondering if they can “keep a leash” on Troy and quell all the resentment from everybody around the place. The old guy doesn’t seem to have much time for hearing about what his boy’s done. This gives me pause. He and Madison will have it out, one way or another.
Alicia: “Its all just different circles of Hell. Why not this one?”
Pic 3Jake goes to his brother, telling him to stay away from the Clarks. We see the resistance of Troy to follow any orders, no matter who’s asking. If people at the ranch figure out what the guy is, WHO he is, they might not be so keen on following his lead. These brothers are coming to a head, too. There’s a confrontation of epic, tragic proportions in their relationship, I feel.
When Alicia goes to hang out with some of the young people, supposedly for Bible study, it turns out they’re actually going to smoke pot, drink booze, and enjoy life as it once was for youth. I actually thought for a moment they were plotting on doing something nasty. They only wanted to bring her into the fold. They’ve even got a zombie head kept in a bird cage: Jeff. Sick, but when you’re high? Hilarious!
In a room by herself Madison sees the outtakes of those Otto family videotapes. Jeremiah wasn’t a great dad. Handsy with mom. Not so sweet and kindly as he seems. The old fella strolls in while she’s watching, admitting he’s not perfect. They talk a bit about their past lives, his past wives. She tells of her alcoholic father, noticing the signs from Jeremiah’s former wife; Troy took care of her at the end when she was dying awfully.
Strand and Dante catch up, clearly having known each other quite a long time. They talk about Thomas briefly, a sore spot for Victor to bring up. Yet I feel something, not quite right here. Perhaps he’s rushed into something quickly without thinking it all through. Well, Dante has been busy. He’s killing people who displease him. Turns out they’re not exactly old friends; just business. Strand pleads his case, asking to be of help. To negotiate deals and organise things for him. Except it’ll be more of a forcible situation than he wanted. Stuck in servitude to Dante. Sort of fitting when in Hell, no?
Pic 3Headed out at night, Troy asks Nick to go for a boar hunt with him: “Earn your keep.” Don’t like this! Don’t like this at all! Not even because of Troy, I almost worry that if the situation arises Nick would take a chance to kill him. Who knows. Back at the ranch, it seems like Jeremiah is warming to Madison, they continue bonding while the boys are gone. She really wants them to find a home somewhere, a place where they can fit in. She tells the old man about Nick being an addict. Both the Otto and Clark family have their respective demons.
Jeremiah takes her down to see “the pantry” where they’ve stockpiled guns, supplies, many things they have for prepared for a Revelations-style apocalypse. He wants to rebuild society, basically. She’s in, too. She wants to feel safe again in a community.
Although I’m still scared. Nick is out on the hunt and he takes Troy to the ground, gun on his throat. FUCK! This ain’t good. He only fires a shot next to the guy’s face and tears up the notes in his little journal. A bonding experience?
Troy: “I need to know why we spoil
Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 2.15.15 AMThings seem better at the ranch in the light of day. Nothing’s ever perfect in this post-apocalypse landscape. Now they’re preparing for possible trouble, looking for volunteers to head out on a search party to scout what’s happened with the helicopter. And Madison offers to go with them, surprising many. Tough woman. After that she goes and sits with Troy for breakfast. Because she knows if she plays mom that’ll keep her in his good graces.
And Strand, oh he’s facing a hard time ahead. In a prison work-like situation. Shit, he’s had it rough lately. One good thing? Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades) watches over him: “I told you Id be your guardian angel.” I KNEW HE’D BE BACK EVENTUALLY! FUCK YEAH. Love his character.
Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 2.21.15 AMI loved this episode all over, it opened many new things, expanding on those new stories we’re seeing. Plus there’s a return of a character whom I hoped was not wholly gone. We’re about to see so much happen starting in “100” next week.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 8: “Too Far Gone”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 8: “Too Far Gone”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Seth Hoffman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Dead Weight” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “After” – click here
IMG_0162The Governor (David Morrissey) is bringing his vengeance to the new group which he’s been leading. He tells them all about the prison, that they’ve got to go and get themselves a new place to live. Mostly, he wants to kill Michonne (Danai Gurira), to take everything Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has done for his own. He makes the group out to be monstrous. Like it’s their duty to go and take the place.
We also see the Governor get a jump on Michonne and Hershel (Scott Wilson), taking them hostage. People get worried when he tells his group, this is all very new to them. He makes clear: there are no rules anymore, not in this war to which they’re headed.
IMG_0164The Governor makes himself out to be a saint, mutilated and ruined by those people at the prison. He talks a good game. Although Tara (Alanna Masterson), Alisha (Juliana Harkavy), they’re reluctant at first, they all come around fast. Ready to follow him into a battle of which they know nothing. Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson) doesn’t like this side of the man she knows as Brian. He’s blinded by both vengeance and a want to relive his old life anew with a defacto wife and child.
Lilly: “Killing people?”
The Governor: “Killing killers
Michonne only threatens to kill the Governor, not willing to talk with him like a regular chat. For his part, Hershel offers to work together. To live as communities side by side. This is not an option, though. This man is set in his ways, he will not back down.
At the prison, the flu has finally passed. Glenn (Steven Yeun) is doing well, nursed back to health by Maggie (Lauren Cohan). They have no idea what’s coming. They’re merely living their lives, one day at a time. Daryl (Norman Reedus) is livid with Rick over what he did, without consulting anyone, with Carol (Melissa McBride). I knew this would cause grief between them. Except I agree with Rick on what he did. Then they’ve got to talk to Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and tell him, though he’s got other worries – he’s found a disturbing scene, an animal torn open and displayed in a dark hallway. Psycho shit.
Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) sees Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) for the first time since getting back. There’s a connection between the two. She thanks him for helping with the medicine. But Bob doesn’t feel worthy, for having put people in danger over the booze he wanted so badly. Maybe he’ll get a chance to prove himself soon.
IMG_0165Bigger fish to fry now for all of them. The Governor’s arrived with reinforcements, and that tank is just waiting to tear the walls down if things go wrong. When Rick sees his nemesis has Michonne and Hershel, he’s pissed. Everybody is, they don’t want anything nasty to happen. Meanwhile, the one-eyed bastard is leading people into a battle they never started, never were a part of, and the consequences will be dire.
Rick goes down to talk with the Governor, as Daryl rallies the others on their side. The sheriff asks for his people to be released, his enemy states they must leave. Or else die. “We need this prison,” he tells Rick. The other people with him slowly start wondering if the monsters they heard of were mere fiction created by their new leader.
Waiting for her people to come back, Lilly sits watching the woods letting Meghan play nearby. A walker starts making its way across the river towards them making mom nervous. It falls into the undertow and washes away. Soon, her little girl digs up a walker in the ground where she’s playing. And you can guess what’s coming next… a big chomp!
IMG_0166So what will happen at the prison? Rick pleads for them to “live together” in harmony, no matter what went on before that moment. But that’s not going to fly. Rick tries giving them a good speech, explaining they took in people from Woodbury who’ve become leaders in the prison. The Governor decides on a different course of action than he’d originally planned – he slice Hershel’s neck open wide. This begins an all-out battle.
Michonne runs for cover, as does Rick, and bullets fly every which way. Hershel crawls for cover, but doesn’t get far until the Governor hacks his head clean off like a neanderthal. Right then is when Lilly shows up, dead daughter in her arms. There’s no human left in this man now. Tara throws down her gun, unwilling to fight anymore, and the others charge the prison, tank leading the way.
Rick’s crew start retreating a little while the Governor gains ground. People head for the busses to start fleeing. Everyone gets split up – Glenn, Maggie, Beth, Bob, Sasha; all separated. Tyreese ends up with Lizzie and Mika after they save him from certain death.
Out on the fields, Rick fights with his nemesis, fist to fist. They beat the living shit out of one another, headbutts and punches and kicks and all. As the Governor gains the upper hand, Michonne puts a sword right through his heart helping Rick to his feet.
IMG_0167Beth and Daryl take off together. Rick looks all over for his boy, finding Carl (Chandler Riggs) safe and sound with a gun in his hands. But what about their little girl? Where’s Judith? They find her car seat on the ground empty, fearing the worst. However, last we saw Lil’ Ass Kicker she was with Lizzie and Mika, so there’s hope yet that she made it through with them. For now, the Grimes’ mourn her as if she’s gone forever. Enough to break your fucking heart in pieces. And on they go, headed away from the prison.
Fittingly enough, the Governor is shot in the head by Lilly instead of left to die in the field. We see a familiar face, Clara (Kerry Condon), wandering through the field; the one Rick left with her husband. A sort of sad testament of the dead taking over the prison, just as they do with the rest of the world.
IMG_0168What an impressive mid-season finale! Such an intense bunch of moments, particularly with the death of Hershel, and in such brutal fashion.
The season returns with “After” next. And boy, have things ever changed.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 7: “Dead Weight”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 7: “Dead Weight”
Directed by Jeremy Podeswa
Written by Curtis Gwinn

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Live Bait” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Too Far Gone” – click here
IMG_0151New man Brian (David Morrissey) has found himself back with old pal Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo), who’s moved on to other places, made new friends himself. The one formerly known as the Governor reveals bits and pieces of himself to young Meghan. Speaking briefly of his father, playing chess together.
But how will he survive in this new place, with all that Caesar knows about him? Long as he goes along, they’ll get along. So in the name of helping Meghan, Tara (Alanna Masterson), and Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson) he agrees to make things work.
What’s scariest? There’s a tank involved now. If he wanted to obliterate anything, he’s got the fire power to do it. Yikes. Let’s hope he can stay satisfied with this little slice of life.
IMG_0153Brian has to go on a supply run with Caesar and the Dolgens – Mitch (Kirk Acevedo) and Pete (Enver Gjokaj). They’re army boys, which is obviously where the tank came from; I wonder if they’ll butt heads with the former Governor. Out in the woods the group looks for a survivalist’s camp, to hopefully locate supplies he might’ve left behind. They come upon a decapitated body with a sign strapped across the chest: LIAR.
Back at the camp another army girl named Alisha (Juliana Harkavy) gets into the military talk with Tara, who’s eager to get a bit of romance going wherever she can. I love her character, and want to see more already.
There are more decapitated bodies with signs – RAPIST, et cetera – along the path as Caesar leads his men to the cabin for which they’ve been searching. The owner blasted his brains over the front of the place. Inside, more walkers to put down. Later when they’re alone, Caesar tells Brian he wouldn’t have let him in if it weren’t for the girl and the sisters. He wonders if the old Governor has changed.
They sit around and drink beer, like back before the fall. Brian avoids talking too much about himself, as the others chat about what happened before the apocalypse came down on their heads.
IMG_0157Things go on as if they were normal at the camp. Over dinner, Caesar tells the women about how he wanted stability, like they had once in Woodbury. Tara and Alisha go off together for a bit of fun. Awhile later, Caesar and Brian go for a few more drinks, smacking golf balls out in a field. We see and feel the resentment, for what the Governor did before.
Not everything changes, no matter how hard he’s tried to turn into somebody new. When Caesar expresses a desire to have him take a bit of leadership, Brian whacks him on the head and tosses him to the walker pit.
The Governor: “I dont want it
Things get nasty when Pete decides to take leadership, he and Mitch are pretty forceful; the latter most of all. But it doesn’t sit well with everybody, others want to vote for who leads. For now it’s left as is, and the day proceeds as usual. Out on a run, Brian faces more pressure to help lead, as well as to abandon his morality like he did as the Governor. It’s not the life he wants to be living. Luckily, Pete is more of a good guy than his brother who doesn’t have many morals left himself.
Afterwards, Brian tells Lilly they need to go. He starts packing in a rush, he knows they’re not safe with the brothers. They head into the night, along with Alisha. Not far, though. On the road out they find a muddy pit of walkers blocking the way. A hideous and crushing sight. They have to turn back, find another way out of their predicament.
IMG_0159Lilly: “What are you doing?”
The Governor: “Surviving
Brian goes to see Pete for a talk. Or rather, to kill him. When that deed’s done he goes to see Mitch with a gun. They talk a bit. We see the old Governor slip out of Brian’s skin, the lack of morals and his ruthlessness. He reveals more of his past, about his father and brother. Those tiny morsels of his character come to us in the strangest of ways, which I love. Great writing.
At this point, Brian takes over. He offers Mitch the chance to be at his side, to not worry about doing the “right thing” any longer; to just do what needs to get done in order to live. The brother agrees to cover up Pete’s death, using a noble story of his saving them on a run. A nasty guy, two nasty guys. Maybe even the NASTIEST.
Life continues at the camp, as Brian exerts his influence and Mitch plays along. Everything goes smooth. But essentially, he killed Caesar for nothing. He’s now in power, which he could’ve had with his former friend. Instead he’s chosen another dark path. No surprise. It’s gonna get darker.
We end as the Governor wanders up to the prison. His eye set on Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group, their home like once before. More so it’s trained on Michonne (Danai Gurira). He hasn’t changed one goddamn iota.
IMG_0161As I said before, don’t like the Governor. His character is excellent, though; as a brutal villain. David Morrissey plays him well, and seeing parts of his backstory, as well as character development in him is awesome.
Mid-season finale “Too Far Gone” is next. BE prepared for something shockingly intense.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 6: “Live Bait”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 6: “Live Bait”
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Written by Nichole Beattie

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Internment” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Dead Weight” – click here
IMG_0142The Governor (David Morrissey) is left with only a few men at his side, after the massacre following their failed attempt at taking the prison. He wakes in the morning to find they’ve left him now. He’s all alone in the wasteland. Rightfully so, considering they might’ve been next after a little bit of time.
He goes back to Woodbury, burning the place and watching it fall. He goes on the road for months by himself. Then he runs into others, to whom he tells his story; the abridged and heavily edited version.
Something’s changed in the man. Perhaps realising how much he needs others to survive, in more ways than one. What he sees ahead of him now is the possibility to start another life, to become another person.
IMG_0144The people he meets are the Chamblers – Lilly, Tara (Alanna Masterson), David, and Meghan. They reluctantly take him in and find he’s not huge on talking. Tara’s done some service in the army, this is clear. She does not fuck around having a new man kicking around, particularly a scruffy one with an eye patch.
He’s no longer the Governor, or Phillip. He’s Brian Heriot; new identity, fresh new life.
The Chamblers have been getting by well enough. They live in the little apartment, scavenging food, staying safe as possible. Lots of cured meat on hand after they raided an Italian food truck. Although their father David has medical problems – respiratory. And there’s only so long his oxygen tanks can last before a refill’s needed.
David asks Brian for a favour – a backgammon set upstairs. He wants his granddaughter Meghan to talk again, to feel normal. This strikes a chord with the former Governor; thoughts of Penny. So upstairs he heads to an apartment where a neighbour of David’s supposedly keeps a set under his bed. Brian also finds the old fella who owns the place, nothing but a living corpse in the bathtub waiting to be put down.
IMG_0145Returning with the backgammon set, he’s a hero to the Chamblers. Maybe not Tara, who remains suspicious. Really though, deep down there’s a sadness in this man. He’s done terrible things, for which he can never be forgiven. Yet there’s still something awfully tragic about his story. He can’t even look at his face in a family picture anymore, folding the corner over himself.
The next day Brian’s getting ready to head out. However, Lilly wants another bit of help – they need more supplies for her father, to keep him going until the last possible moment; if only for her daughter. Brian heads out to an old folk’s home nearby in search. He stumbles onto a cart of oxygen tanks. They make too much noise, and when walkers come for him he only gets away with one. Better than nothing!
Alone together, Brian and Meghan bond a bit. They do a “pink swear” and talk a bit. Telling secrets. Despite his being a monster as the Governor, this side of him is tender. Being around a little girl again like when he was with his daughter, ages ago. He decides on teaching the girl chess. He’s even decided to shave his beard, getting back to a more clean look, no longer a homeless man roaming the world.
Then the worst happens – David slips away into death, no longer able to fight the cancer. You know what has to be done, so that the man doesn’t turn. Can’t take long to mourn. He comes back fast, prompting Brian to smash his head in with an oxygen tank in front of the women.
IMG_0148Brian turns his back on is old life, even the memory of his wife and daughter. He burns the picture he’s been keeping. Now, he decides to leave the apartment building. But the Chambler sisters want to go with him, they don’t want him to go on his own.
When they do go on the road, all of them, Brian and Lilly begin getting closer. In the night, they hug close to one another. And they become intimate.
He also becomes an impromptu father again, to Meghan. He saves her from walkers, then they fall into a pit in a field full of them. Where he again saves her, brutally. But wait – we’ve seen this type of pit before. Oh yes, you guessed it. He’s come across his old friend Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo). Whoa.
IMG_0149I don’t like the Governor, though I dig seeing his story. Gives a humanity to his otherwise despicable character. He’s found himself in quite an interesting situation here. Next episode is “Dead Weight” and we’ll see how he plays things off now that he’s found Caesar.